Welcome to the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women. We are dedicated to furthering feminist issues for the women of Chicago. We pride ourselves on being part of ‘the city that works,’ a city with a long history of activism. Our intention is to make a difference in the lives of the women in our city by dedicating ourselves to several key projects each year, and through community outreach and political activities.

Chicago NOW Partners with the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition to Stem the Tide of Violence Against Women

Gun violence is a feminist concern.  It is five times more likely that a domestic violence situation will turn deadly if a gun is present. On average, 50 American women are murdered monthly by intimate partners through gun violence. American women are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other high-income countries.

Federal law prohibits gun sales to persons with domestic abuse convictions.  But that does not stop these persons from trying to obtain guns.  One in seven unlawful gun buyers stopped by a federal background check has been convicted of domestic violence. Because abusers can avoid federally mandated background checks by buying guns from unlicensed sellers, these sales pose a significant danger to women.

The Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition has been working tirelessly to close this loop-hole.  Just before the primary, the Illinois Legislature passed the Gun Dealer Licensing Act (SB1657). Governor Rauner vetoed it.  It’s now up to your state legislators to override the veto.

Will you call your legislator today?

Will you help work to pass the Gun Dealer Licensing Act and other important safety measures in Illinois?

Over the next few months, we will be presenting and promoting ways that you can get involved to help pass common-sense gun reform in Illinois.

Join us.

We have an action item for all CNOW supporters this week:

We need you to contact your State Senator and ask them to VOTE YES to override Governor Rauner’s veto of SB 1657.

Please go to this website to be connected to your IL State Senator. Please email them first and then call them for extra points.

Chicago NOW’s Racial Justice Training

On Wednesday, January 24, we at the Chicago Chapter of the National Organization of Women (CNOW) collaborated with YWCA’s Racial Justice Director, Eileen Hogan Heineken, to embark on a journey toward a greater understanding of the way our cultures shape who we are, our institutions, how we see others, and ways to become inclusive.  For an hour and a half, 30 CNOW training participants took a deep dive into the way our implicit biases affect our viewpoints.  Eileen facilitated an excellent discussion that began with participants partnering with each other to talk about their cultural upbringing.  This exercise elucidated a common theme that resonated across cultures which include how many of us came to a greater understanding of our cultural heritage only when we left our homogeneous childhood environments and felt the difference between how we perceived ourselves and how we are treated by society at large.

We discussed how our origins shape the way we see the world as adults and examined the idea of a monolithic view of the “norm”.  I particularly enjoyed our discussion of the formation of implicit biases and how we can work to overcome them to be inclusive of others who are different from ourselves.  Many of us recounted experiences they had where they were treated differently or discriminated against based upon the idea of what someone of their skin color, race, or gender is expected to look and act like.  After venting our collective frustration at the way racial and gender stereotypes are embedded in American culture and keep those who aren’t white, male, or otherwise what cultural messaging often describes as “the norm,” several participants admitted that they struggle to this day with internal negative reactions to those from other groups based on these biases.  Eileen encouraged us to face these struggles head on, and consciously work toward eradicating our internal biases and to advocate for institutional policies and practices that promote inclusion as tools for greater systematic change. Furthermore, we have a responsibility not only to confront bias in ourselves, but to call out others who act based on bias.  If someone makes a bad joke based on a racial stereotype – we tell them they are not funny.  If someone acts in a discriminatory fashion, we stand up for the person they are discriminating against.  Overall,  this session was a terrific way to brainstorm concrete steps we can take, as an organization and as individual activists, to make sure that we challenge injustice when we see it and to be inclusive of all when working toward our goals here at CNOW and across Chicago.